Getting Sued Over A Debt Already Paid

QUESTION: A collection agency says they’re going to sue me over a debt I already paid, I don’t know what to do.

I have a few emails of paid in full, but a couple of the companies didn’t send me anything, and when I tried to call them it says it’s no longer a working number.

ANSWER: First of all, I would suggest that you pull a copy of your credit bureau reports. You may obtain a free copy through www. AnnualCreditReport.com It is the only website that the Federal Trade Commission has approved of for a free credit report. You might find useful information on that website. Also, do you have old bank statements or cancelled checks to prove you paid?

If a third party debt collector is threatening to sue you on a debt that has been paid (whether you can prove it right now, OR NOT) then it seems your rights have been violated. I would suggest you contact a consumer rights attorney who has experience going after abusive debt collectors. They will probably want to look up this debt collector that is threatening to sue you. Specifically, they will want to see if this debt buyer is a common litigator; and also, they will want to find out if this debt collector has a surety bond on file with the Texas Secretary of State. If they do not, then this whole thing sounds like a scam- an illegal scam.

Keep in mind that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows you to collect a statutory award, other damages, as well as your attorney fees. That is the reason why many consumer rights attorneys do not charge clients up front for their time. They can get paid for by the defendants. I strongly suggest you get your payment history together and call a consumer rights attorney licensed in Texas.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

 

Removing A Dismissed Lawsuit From Credit Report

QUESTION: If you were taken to court for a broken lease and the case was dismissed is it possible to get it off your credit report?

My boyfriend left his old apartment a few years ago on account of his roommate who was unable to pay the full rent and left soon after. They were taken to court but the case was dismissed. Now we’re trying to get a house but the broken lease is still on his credit report. Is it possible to get it taken off because it was dismissed or does he still have to pay it?

ANSWER:The detail that is missing: what sort of dismissal was it? Your boyfriend needs to send a letter to the credit reporting agencies that are listing the broken lease. He will probably need to send a copy of that same letter to the past landlord disputing the negative information. If the dismissal documents from court are favorable to your boyfriend, he should attach them to the dispute letter. He should probably attach the dismissal documents in any event.

Your boyfriend should be gathering information about being declined or rejected from the new housing opportunity. In case the derogatory information on this credit report needs to be removed, and if it is NOT removed, then your boyfriend will have terrific grounds for a lawsuit against the past landlord and/or the credit reporting agencies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

If he needs assistance going through the dispute process, he should contact an experienced attorney. Most attorneys do not charge a fee for helping with the dispute letter writing process, or the resulting litigation, since the federal laws allow for fees to be paid by the defendants.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

 

Disputing Credit Report Errors

QUESTION: I disputed an error on my credit report, the creditor removed it on one bureau but declined to remove it on another credit bureau!

I contacted creditor (home depot) and disputed 30 days late on my credit report. It was first reported on Equifax and was deleted by Equifax, then months later it showed up on my Transunion. This time I disputed with Transunion and the error remains. What ground I have if I need legal assistance?

ANSWER: It is not uncommon for one credit bureau to report things one way, and another to report the exact opposite. I would recommend that you lodge another dispute- both with the creditor and the TransUnion. All credit reporting disputes should be handled by certified mail with return-receipt requested. You are encouraged to include as much helpful information as possible, including all proof that you have to support your claim.

Finally, if the incorrect information continues to appear on your credit report, you may have grounds to sue under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, as well as the Texas Finance Code. These consumer rights statutes allow you to recover damages, as well as your attorney fees (which is why many attorneys do not charge a fee to handle these sorts of matters – from the credit reporting dispute process through litigation.)

One other tidbit: many consumers obtain their credit reports through various websites that charge a fee. I have seen many consumers ask friends of theirs – in the mortgage industry, or car dealers – to pull their credit reports. The only place I recommend consumers go for their credit reports is: www.AnnualCreditReport.com It is the only website that is approved by the federal trade commission and allows you one free credit bureau report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

 

How To Proceed With Payment Request Letters Totaling $10,000 From A Collection Agencies

It is important to recognize and understand that if you ever find yourself in such a situation your credit score is probably very low. Thus it will be extremely challenging obtaining the best interest rates for any financing (if you even qualify). At the same token, a lot of the very small debt out there (under $1,000.00) ends up on the debtor’s credit report, ends up in collections, but does *not* end up in a lawsuit. While I do not encourage debtors to avoid paying their bills, it is also clear that one may not be in a position where the debtor can legitimately afford to pay the delinquent bills. The negative lines on a credit report will slowly age, have less impact on the credit score, and after 7 years they will come off altogether.

If one happens to have any particular debt that is significantly over $1,000.00, then there is the possibility of being sued for that debt.

If you ever find yourself in such a situation, it is strongly recommended that you keep track of all debt collection calls that are made to you or anyone else. Most consumers are unaware, that they has debt collection rights. You can download a debt collection call log from my law firm’s website to help keep track of callers. Also, whatever debt collection mail that is received should be reviewed by an attorney. Keep in mind that often times debt collection letters have violations in them, and the consumers are really not knowledgeable enough to notice. Also keep in mind that most consumer rights lawyers will not charge an un front fee to handle debt collection abuse; federal and state laws allow consumers to collect their attorneys’ fees from the “bad guys.”

You should obtain a copy of your credit reports. They are available for free, once every year through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. It will enable you to have a complete picture of your debt.

Here are some additional suggestions to bear in mind:
1. Do not ignore the collection letters. Keep them; share them with a consumer right’s lawyer. You are welcome to send them all to my office so that I can advise further.
2. Sometimes it is worth considering calling the debt collection agencies to possibly work out a payment plan, but only after you have shared the collection letters with an attorney in the field of consumer rights. It is important to understand that sometimes paying one collector will open a jar of worms with others who are constantly looking at your credit report and probably wondering, “why is this person paying that debt, and not this one?”
3. $10k worth of debt is probably not enough to make bankruptcy the best option.
4. Bill consolidations is hardly ever the best way to go. Nevertheless, one should consult with an attorney to determine whether the debts may ultimately end up in litigation. If that’s the case, then debt consolidation may operate to prevent an imminent lawsuit.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Debt Collection Tactics

Debt collectors are notorious for engaging in what can often be described as abusive and harassing tactics in order to collect a debt. Some debt collectors will even go as far as threatening to come to your home or place of employment to serve you with lawsuit papers. In my experience, these particular debt collectors are the worst of the worst, and most often they usually are not even licensed to collect debt in Texas.

If, however, the party that was calling happens to be a legitimate debt collection agency, then one would probably be within their rights to sue them for violations of the federal and Texas debt collection laws. My office has handled many suits against abusive debt collectors. The laws allow the consumer to recover damages, in addition to all of the attorney fees and costs incurred while suing the debt collector. Many consumer rights lawyers will handle debt collection abuse cases on a contingency basis.

Before proceeding with a lawsuit, it is advisable pull your credit report to determine if the particular collection agency in question is listed. Depending on when the account in question went into default, it may or may not appear as a negative comment on your credit report. A free copy of your credit report can be downloaded once every year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Any suspicious lines listed on your credit reports should also be taken up with a consumer rights attorney.

Finally, if you have the name and/or phone number of the collection agency, and especially if you have any recordings, feel free to send that information along. My office will gladly do some research to determine if the collection agency is legitimate.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Can I write the credit bureaus and have a collection account removed with the status of “Potentially Negative Closed”?

QUESTION:

Hi, I have a question regarding my credit report. I’m only 23 years old and I’ve recently wanted to start cleaning up my credit. After reviewing my credit today I noticed I had two accounts that state “Potentially Negative Closed” and the account is closed. Can I have that removed? If so, how would I go about doing that? Thank you!

ANSWER: Do you know the circumstances for closing the account? If not, you should certainly write to the credit reporting agencies, as well as the creditor that furnished the information, to dispute the listings and request more information. Keep in mind, sometimes when you dispute a listing on your credit report, it becomes very difficult to remove the “dispute” status without re-affirming the debt. In my office, we see people who are trying to buy their first house or car and cannot because there are disputes on their credit reports that they cannot clear.

If the listing is inaccurate, and if you properly dispute the information with no positive results from the credit bureaus, then you might have a good claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as the Texas Finance Code.

On another note: kudos to you for being diligent about your credit worthiness!